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Comment author: Eneasz 16 March 2012 10:40:28PM 0 points [-]

This comment will be heavy with jargon, to convey complex ideas with the minimum required words. That is what jargon is for, after all. The post's long enough even with this shortening.

Less Wrong inspires a feeling of wonder.

To see humans working seriously to advance the robot rebellion is inspiring. To become better, overcome the programming laid in by Azathoth and actually improve our future.

The audacity to challenge death itself, to reach for the stars, is breathtaking. The piercing insight in many of the works here is startling. And the gift of being able to find joy in the merely real again is priceless. It doesn't hurt that it's spearheaded by an extremely intelligent and honest person who's powers of written communication are among the greatest of his generation.

And that sense of awe and wonder makes people flinch. Especially people who have been trained to be wary of that sort of shit. Who've seen the glassed-over eyes of their fundamentalist families and the dazed ramblings of hippies named Storm. As much as HJPEV has tried to train himself to never flinch away from the truth, to never let his brain lie to him, MANY of us have been trained just as strongly to always flinch away from awe and wonder produced by charismatic people. In fact, if we had a "don't let your brain lie to you" instinct as strong as our "don't let awe and wonder seduce you into idiocy" instinct we'd be half way to being good rationalists already.

And honestly, that instinct is a good one. It saves us from insanity 98% of the time. But it'll occasionally result in a woo/cult-warning where one could genuinely and legitimately feel wonder and awe. I don't blame people for trusting their instincts and avoiding the site. And it'll mean we forever get people saying "I dunno what it is, but that Less Wrong site feels kinda cultish to me."

We're open, we're transparent, we are a positive force in the lives of our members. We've got nothing to fear, and that's why occasional accusations of cultishness will never stick. We've just got to learn to live with the vibe and realize that those who stick around long enough to look deeper will bear out that we're not.

It's nice to still have that awe and wonder somewhere. I wouldn't ever want to give that up just so a larger percentage of the skeptic community accepts us. That feeling is integral to this site, giving it up would kill LW for me.

Comment author: Jakeness 06 October 2013 08:30:24PM 1 point [-]

I think this post can be modified, without much effort, to defend any pseudo-cult, or even a cheesy movie.

Comment author: shminux 01 July 2013 11:44:20PM *  0 points [-]

Yet it seems odd, to say the least, to discount the well-being of people as their velocity increases.

Is it some kind of non-sequitur? How is it related to positive discounting?

if you decline to condemn them to death, how are they different from other “residents” in the distant future?

Probably because some are more real and others are less so.

Comment author: Jakeness 03 July 2013 12:31:26AM 0 points [-]

if you decline to condemn them to death, how are they different from other “residents” in the distant future?

Probably because some are more real and others are less so.

Can you explain in more detail what you mean by this?

Comment author: tgb 17 May 2013 02:34:32PM 8 points [-]

A ridiculous munchkin idea which has long been floating around this community is increasingly looking less ridiculous: transcranial direct current stimulation is shown to improve mental arithmetic and rote learning of things like times tables with differences significant even 6 months after training. Original paper.

Comment author: Jakeness 20 May 2013 07:49:29PM 3 points [-]

Has it been demonstrated to be safe over a long period of time?

How can somebody (without access to a lab) practically implement that technique?

Comment author: pnrjulius 27 May 2012 04:33:17AM *  0 points [-]

In general I agree, and of course Copenhagen is nonsense, but I think you privilege the hypothesis of Many-Worlds over Bohm. You see, Bohm has an explanation for the Born probabilities---they are a stable equilibrium state called, appropriately, "quantum equilibrium". So there are not even any open questions.

And yes, Bohm is non-local, which you could say is a problem... or you could say it explains why quantum mechanics is different from classical mechanics. (Obviously no quantum theory is going to satisfy all our classical intuitions, or it wouldn't be a quantum theory at all!)

It doesn't fit with general relativity, you say? Yes, because none of them do. Quantum gravity doesn't... work, not with our current formalisms. This is the central problem of modern physics (that and dark energy, which most physicists think is related somehow).

Comment author: Jakeness 04 March 2013 02:54:59PM *  0 points [-]

And yes, Bohm is non-local, which you could say is a problem... or you could say it explains why quantum mechanics is different from classical mechanics.

I̶'̶m̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶s̶a̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶B̶o̶h̶m̶ ̶i̶n̶t̶e̶r̶p̶r̶e̶t̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶w̶r̶o̶n̶g̶ ̶(̶b̶e̶c̶a̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶I̶'̶m̶ ̶t̶o̶o̶ ̶i̶n̶e̶x̶p̶e̶r̶i̶e̶n̶c̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶i̶e̶l̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶s̶a̶y̶)̶,̶ ̶b̶u̶t̶ I do not see how the above statement can be used to privilege Bohm over any other theory. If anything, shouldn't its non-locality lower our priors on its correctness?

Comment author: AlexMennen 02 March 2013 02:12:56AM 5 points [-]

He was saying that you should keep trying after most people would give up, not that you should expect everything to magically go your way.

Comment author: Jakeness 02 March 2013 06:55:49PM 3 points [-]

Those two concepts have some overlap. Why should we use our energy trying to accomplish something that many have failed? Do we have good reason to discard the validity of their efforts? Are there good reasons to think our particular abilities are better suited to the task? Are we going to make some incremental progress that others can build on?

Comment author: shminux 12 February 2013 07:45:18AM 9 points [-]

Instead of assuming that people are dumb, ignorant, and making mistakes, assume they are smart, doing their best, and that you lack context.


Comment author: Jakeness 23 February 2013 07:36:27PM 1 point [-]

I would somewhat agree with this if the phrase "making mistakes" was removed. People generally have poor reasoning skills and make non-optimal choices >99% of the time. (Yes, I am including myself and you, the reader, in this generalization.)

Comment author: neuromancer92 18 April 2012 06:42:42PM 0 points [-]

I understand the point you're raising, because it caught me for a while, but I think I also see the remaining downfall of science. Its not that science leads you to the wrong thing, but that it cannot lead you to the right one. You never know if your experiments actually brought you to the right conclusion - it is entirely possible to be utterly wrong, and complete scientific, for generations and centuries.

Not only this, but you can be obviously wrong. We look at people trusting in spontaneous generation, or a spirit theory of disease, and mock them - rightfully. They took "reasonable" explanations of ideas, tested them as best they could, and ended up with unreasonable confidence in utterly illogical ideas. Science has no step in which you say "and is this idea logically reasonable", and that step is unattainable even if you add it. Science offers two things - gradual improvement, and safety from being wrong with certainty. The first is a weak reward - there is no schedule to science, and by practicing it there's a reasonable chance that you'll go your entire life with major problems with your worldview. The second is hollow - you are defended from taking a wrong idea and saying "this is true" only inasmuch as science deprives you of any certainty. You are offered a qualifier to say, not a change in your ideas.

Comment author: Jakeness 22 February 2013 01:34:51AM 2 points [-]

I don't see how what you have said necessitates the "downfall" of science. It seems to me that it only suggests scientists should look at their theories as "the best possible explanation at the current time, which will likely be altered or proven incorrect in the future," rather than the usual "this is right, everything else is wrong." But we already know that this is an improvement everyone should be making to their thought-processes; here scientists are being singled out.

It would be appreciated if someone pointed out flaws in what I have said.

Comment author: MichaelAnissimov 18 May 2008 10:05:11AM 0 points [-]

Why do you lack social curiosity? Do you think it's a neuro-quirk, or just a normal quirk?

Comment author: Jakeness 22 February 2013 01:22:35AM 4 points [-]

I can't speak for him, but I developed below-average social curiosity after I realized that people usually talk about things that aren't really interesting.

In response to Memetic Tribalism
Comment author: Jakeness 15 February 2013 11:53:52PM 6 points [-]

Under normal social circumstances, I no longer attempt to correct another person's belief by telling them how it is wrong and stating mine. If somebody makes a statement of questionable accuracy, I ask questions to determine how they came to the conclusion. This not only forces the person to consciously justify themselves and perhaps change their mind on their own, but allows for me to collect potential good arguments against my contrary belief. Conversations in general become more interesting and less hostile while following this protocol.

In response to Rational Home Buying
Comment author: johannes 08 October 2012 12:08:10PM 4 points [-]

a classic example here is the "extra bedroom for Grandma" - visits from Grandma are easy to imagine, but if she only comes a couple of days a year, spending tens of thousands more dollars for a house with an extra bedroom and bathroom for her is probably pretty stupid. You'd save money - and make her happier - by putting her up in the local five star hotel.

I'm going to buy a house with a room for "grandma", and here's why: While it might cost me less to put guests in luxury hotels, it's going to cost me every time I have a guest over. I might be unusual here, but I know that both the cost and the slightly more difficult choice ("Should I save the money by not inviting them to stay?") is going to make me unhappy every time I get a guest.

From a purely economical view point this line of thinking might be irrational, but I've found that the action or prospect of paying has a real cost in happiness, so I prefer to do pay more once than less split over many instances.

Comment author: Jakeness 05 February 2013 01:59:44AM 2 points [-]

Why not purchase an air mattress or a pull-out couch?

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